Ice Apocalypse

| November 29, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Antarctica by Andreas Kambanis | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Item Link: Access the Resource

Media Type: News / Op - Ed

Date of Publication: November 21, 2017

Year of Publication: 2017

Publisher: Grist Magazine, Inc.

Author(s): Eric Holthaus

Categories: ,

Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century.

As questions surrounding the melting of Antarctic glaciers shift from ‘if’ to ‘when’ Eric Holthaus explains the implications for coastal cities and importance of understanding potential feedback loops.

“In a remote region of Antarctica known as Pine Island Bay, 2,500 miles from the tip of South America, two glaciers hold human civilization hostage.”

Read the full article here.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedIn
The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Arnold Byron

    The following are quotations from the above article, Ice Apocalypse.
    Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado says, “There’s a whole lot more to understand if we’re going to use this mechanism to predict how far Thwaites glacier and the other glaciers are going to retreat.” He says. “The question boils down to, what are the brakes on this process?”
    “Ice is only so strong, so it will collapse if these cliffs reach a certain height,” explains Kristin Poinar, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “We need to know how fast it’s going to happen.”
    Jeremy Bassis, the ice sheet scientist at the University of Michigan, says “The range of outcomes is really going to depend on choices that people make.”
    I wonder if our scientists are being too careful. All three of the above scientists know that the ice sheets are going to collapse into the ocean and raise the sea level. The concern in the scientific community seems to be a need to establish how and when the ice sheets will collapse.
    I am not a scientist. I do not think like a scientist. To my mind we do not need to know how and when these ice sheets will collapse to take action. We only need to know that they will collapse. All three of our scientists say the ice fields will end up melting into the ocean. That assessment is good enough for me to make the call for action. I don’t need to know the how and why of it.
    We need to stop global warming so that the planet will begin cooling so that the ice will remain frozen in place. We need to build an infrastructure of hundreds of thousands, even millions of solar panels and windmills to end the use of fossil fuel.
    We need to start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. I have heard of geoengineering possibilities: (1) a sponge that will absorb CO2 and allow the CO2 to be sequestered in water and (2) mimicking nature by using a depolymerization process to create a petroleum oil similar to crude oil, that when refined will allow a byproduct of carbon to be sequestered.
    The irony here is that the scientists are working so hard to find out how and when the ice will melt. If we start as soon as we can to begin cooling the planet, then the act of cooling will stop any changes in the ice fields from happening. The work the scientists do will be in vain. To my mind, we will have a better outcome if the scientists start working on the solutions rather than spending their time trying to find information that will be irrelevant to solving the problem.